The Inn Crowd Project Welcomes Its First BSL-Interpreted Show

As well as our rural touring live performance scheme, we run a number of other projects focused at supporting different communities across East Anglia to have access to fantastic live performances. One of these is the Inn Crowd project – which helps rural pub landlords put on live spoken-word style shows in the comfort of their pub, helping them to bring in more customers, offer something different for their regulars, and reinforce the pub as a vibrant, central part of rural community life.

We’ve been heading up this project in East Anglia for the last few years (it is also run in Kent and Sussex by Applause Rural Touring), with support from Pub Is The Hub, the National Centre for Writing, and funding from Arts Council England. We’ve had some amazing writers, poets and performers on the project, and have commissioned new work to be created specifically for pubs audiences through our Writers in Residence programme.

One such commission was a new show by acclaimed stand-up poet Luke Wright. Luke has previously toured through Inn Crowd with a show called Down the Pub with Luke Wright, a selection of his poems specially chosen for pub audiences, which was a huge hit last season. He received our ‘Writers in Residence’ funding back in 2018, staying at various rural pubs across East Anglia gathering stories and inspiration to influence a new show. Since then, he has been touring the country with his new 5-star show Poet LaureateThe Guardian has described the poems in this show as “rumbling with rage, passion and humour. They are also peppered with brilliantly smart observations”, noting that audiences “will leave his show brimming with energy, heart pounding and brain whirring.” He has another performance this weekend, and whilst we look forward to all our Inn Crowd shows, this will be a show with a difference…

Luke’s performance of Poet Laureate at The Banham Barrel pub this Sunday 14th April at 8pm will be the first ever Inn Crowd show to be accompanied by BSL interpretation. The Banham Barrel, run by father-daughter duo Brian and Niamh McAllister, is a new pub on our Inn Crowd circuit, and we’re delighted to welcome them on board. This will be their very first show with us but they are no stranger to offering live entertainment to their customers, hosting lots of music events in the ‘Back Room’, an amazing space they describe as their ‘not-so-secret’ gig venue. They have previously shown a fantastic commitment to opening up their space to the D/deaf community, holding sign-language cafes and other events, and it was their idea to bring in BSL communication for their first Inn Crowd show. As Creative Arts East’s main mission not just through the Inn Crowd project but as a charity in general is to open up the arts to audiences who might face barriers to accessibility, it was a no-brainer for us to make this happen and fund them to bring in an interpreter.

The approach The Banham Barrel are taking to reach out to people in the D/deaf community has come in part from the landlord’s daughter Niamh’s own experiences with hearing problems, which started last year. After realising she was relying heavily on lip-reading, she took a hearing test and was told she needed to wear a hearing aid at the age of 20. This then spurred The Barrel on to hold BSL sign language lessons for the village community. You can find out more about Niamh and the Banham Barrel’s outreach work with the deaf community here in this recent EDP article and BBC Look East coverage.

Luke Wright’s Poet Laureate is on at The Banham Barrel on Sunday 14th April, at 8pm. The show is completely free – no booking required. For more information on the show, check out our website here.

P.s. Our Communications & Content Officer Zoe went along to The Banham Barrel yesterday, to chat to Landlord Brian and his daughter Niamh, as well as reporter Shaun Peel of BBC Look East. We’re hoping to see a little piece about the show on this weekend’s news – so keep your eyes peeled! 

 

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CAE Secures First Corporate Partnership with Avantigas

As you know, Creative Arts East turns 25 this August, and for the last few months our team have been in full anniversary-fundraising-campaign mode! For the countdown to our 25th birthday, we’ve launched a ‘£25k for 25 Years’ fundraising appeal, with the aim to raise £25,000 through public donations and corporate giving. Every penny raised by August 2019 will help us continue to bring the very best arts and cultural activities to rural and/or under-engaged communities in Norfolk, Suffolk and the wider East, in order to increase the health, vitality, skills and aspirations of the rural residents within them.

Every year, we are less able to rely on investment from public funding bodies, and local authorities are squeezed tighter and tighter all the time. We are committed to making sure that the rural communities we serve have equal access to life-changing, high-quality arts experiences, and we have been campaigning hard to raise awareness of our work and encourage charitable donations that will ensure we can continue to thrive, not just survive, for another 25 years and more.

At the East of England finals of the Rural Business Awards back in October 2018, we formed a connection with one of the event sponsors, LPG supplier AvantiGas, who presented us with our award for ‘Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project of the Year’. After discussions with their fantastic and clued-in marketing team, we are delighted to announce that AvantiGas have become our first ever Corporate Partner!

The LPG provider, who supply off-grid homes and businesses, has a strong presence in the East of England and shares our community ethos – aiming to give back to the communities in which they operate. They have described Creative Arts East as “the perfect fit” for their sponsorship support and we were blown away by the commitment their team showed to our cause.

Phoebe Munday, Marketing Executive at AvantiGas, said, “We’re committed to investing in our community areas and working with organisations that make a big difference to the people that live there. Rural living can be lonely for some people so we’re looking forward to investing in an initiative that brings people together.”

Speaking about the partnership, Natalie Jode, Executive Director at Creative Arts East, commented, “We are delighted to announce AvantiGas as our first Corporate Partner and welcome them into the Creative Arts East family. Their energy and enthusiasm for our work really shone through and we’re excited to get this partnership started so we can learn from one another over the next year and beyond.”

The partnership comes at the end of another successful year for AvantiGas. Having continued to grow its LPG business – particularly within the domestic sector – it has also seen its cylinder and mains gas offerings flourish in the competitive market. For us here at Creative Arts East, Corporate Investment is a new venture for us but a vital one to ensure that the charity can continue to make a difference, and we’re excited to see this relationship grow over the next year. We’ll be shouting more about our partnership as it develops, so look out for this!

Our Cinema Groups Commemorate Remembrance Day with Special Film Screenings

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice in 1918, which signalled the end of World War One. With a week to go before Remembrance Day 2018, Sunday 11th November, we wanted to highlight some of our CAE Screen groups that are showing specially selected films around the theme of war and conflict. Join our cinema promoters in remembering those who lost their lives in wartime, by attending one of the following screenings this November:

World War One

Journey’s End: Led by young officer Stanhope, whose mental health is rapidly disintegrating, a group of British soldiers await their fate in an Aisne dugout during the end of World War One. Given 4 stars in The Guardian earlier this year, this film brought out specifically to make the centenary brings “horror, humour and humanity to the trenches”, and injects “new passion” in to one of the 20th Century’s “oldest, grimmest tales of futility and slaughter”.

Showing at: Reedham Village Hall on 7th November, Welborne Village Hall on 9th November, Barton Bendish Village Hall on 10th November, Postwick Village Hall on 10th November, Banham Church on 10th November, Hethersett Village Hall on 11th November, North Creake Village Hall on 13th November, Alburgh Village Hall on 16th November, and Marlingford Village Hall on 17th November.

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands – The Great War At Sea: This 1927 British documentary film is a dramatic reconstruction of the naval warfare around the Battle of Coronel and Battle of the Falkland Islands, two 1914 battles faced by the Royal Navy during the First World War. The BFI restored the film in 2014 for the centenary of the events, and added a new score.

Showing at: Gorleston Library on 8th November.

Oh! What A Lovely War: Richard Attenborough directs a stellar ensemble cast in this musical satire of The Great War, featuring Maggie Smith, Lawrence Olivier and Vanessa Redgrave. Causing some controversy at the time due to its black humour and criticism of the commanding forces behind the conflict, this film uses popular songs of the time to portray the most famous moments of World War One, and is regarded as one of the best anti-war films of all time.

Showing at: Downham Market Town Hall on 9th November.

World War Two

Spitfire: Charles Dance narrates this soaring and dramatic documentary of the fighter plane and pilots that helped win the Battle of Britain in World War Two. Breath-taking aerial footage and digitally remastered 1940s archive footage makes this a not to be missed cinematic documentary that celebrates a true story of courage, determination and triumph.

Showing at: Amy Robsart Village Hall, Syderstone, on 10th November.

Darkest Hour: This Churchill biopic starring Gary Oldman as Britain’s Second World War leader picked up a bounty of nominations and honours during this year’s awards season, including the Academy Award and BAFTA for Oldman’s turn as the iconic figure. Darkest Hour offers unrestricted access to both Churchill himself and the inner workings of the British government during World War Two, in particular Operation Dynamo, which went on to evacuate 300,000 allied troops from Dunkirk.

Showing at: Three Holes Village Hall on Sunday 4th November.

For more info on what else is coming up, visit our website.

A Warm Welcome to Our New Team Member!

We’ve got some exciting news! Last week, we welcomed a new team member to the organisation – the wonderful Abbie Line! Abbie has come on board in the new role of Touring Scheme Administrator, and will be helping scheme managers Alice and Karen with both CAE Screen, our community cinema scheme, and Live!, our rural touring live performance scheme.

The whole team here at Creative Arts East are thrilled to have Abbie join us, so it’s time for you to find out a bit more about her!

Firstly, welcome to the team, Abbie! Could you tell us a bit about what you were doing before you started working at Creative Arts East?

Thank you, I’m very excited to be part of the team! I studied in Nottingham where I developed an interest in the museum and heritage sector, and more recently in the arts on a wider scale. While I lived in Nottingham I worked as a Freelance Heritage Assistant, and got involved with lots of great projects in local museums. I also started a networking group called East of England Emerging Museum Professionals when I moved over to Norwich which I really enjoy.

What’s your role here at CAE, and what will it involve?

My role is the Touring Scheme Administrator, which means that I will mainly be supporting the exciting community cinema and live performance schemes Screen, LIVE! and Inn Crowd. I will also have the opportunity to get involved with lots of great events, and build relationships with the wonderful promoters and artists who work with CAE.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role with us?

I am really looking forward to getting to know more about the rural communities in and around Norfolk and Suffolk who work with CAE, and those who get involved with lots of the various projects and schemes. It’s great to see how the events being put on are so beneficial to so many people, and I can’t wait to get involved with helping to make it all happen.

If you had to plan a fun day out for the CAE team, where would you take us and why?

I’m a really foody person, so I would plan a trip to somewhere like Cadbury World or find a baking workshop. Judging by the fact that some of the CAE team bring in things they have made I think that would go down well!

And lastly, tell us a fun or perhaps unexpected fact/hobby about yourself!

I have quite a few hobbies really but I love all things creative. I enjoy experimenting with different art forms so I do a lot of painting, sewing and printmaking at home. I also love history (having studied it at uni) and have a slight obsession with the Tudors!

Thanks Abbie! We hope you enjoyed meeting our newest team member, stay tuned for more blog posts coming up over the next few months!

The Big Sing: A Recap of a Great Day Out

As well as our core rural touring schemes (Creative Arts East Screen and Live!), we also deliver a variety of projects in the Eastern region, which involve different community groups. Over the last few years, one of our biggest projects has become ‘Our Day Out’. This project began in 2016, with the help of our major funding partner, Spirit of 2012 Trust. As part of the project, we work with professional artists to deliver creative, participatory music and dance workshops specifically designed to involve the older generation in arts and cultural activity. We run sessions twice a month in 6 different locations across Norfolk, with the artists leading the sessions  changing every 3 months. The project offers participants the chance to meet new people, have fun, and get creative, all in a dementia-inclusive environment.

Since January, the sessions have been delivered by local musical artists Mary and Kim, and participants have been taking part in singing workshops, singing favourites from yesteryear, learning new styles, and even trying their hand at song-writing! To mark the end of Mary and Kim’s time with our participants, we brought all of the groups together for a ‘Big Sing’ on Thursday 29th March at Dereham Memorial Hall.

The Big Sing was a fantastic celebration of the songs the participants have been learning over the last few months, and it gave everyone the opportunity to meet people from the other groups. Each of the 6 groups had been working on their own verse of the sea shanty ‘In This Windy Old Weather’ over the course of the sessions, and so ‘The Big Sing’ allowed all the groups to join their verses together and create their own personalised version of this classic song. As well as the singing, there was laughter, chatter, and of course, no ‘Our Day Out’ event would be complete without refreshments, so we made sure there was plenty of tea and cake on hand!

Our funders, Spirit of 2012 Trust, attended the Big Sing, and said this about the success of the event:

“It was a great event and the joy amongst participants was palpable when they were singing and in the breaks. It was genuinely moving to see what a great time they were having and the release that singing and being in a group can bring. Spirit of 2012 is very proud to fund such an inclusive and inspirational project, bringing people together to have fun, make friends and explore their creativity. ”

We’ve loved partnering with Mary and Kim, and are looking forward to our next lot of ‘Our Day Out’ sessions kicking off this week! The artists we’ll be working with from April till June will be Tessa Wingate, and Zahara Belly Dance. Half of the groups will make more music with Tessa, while the other half will join Zahara with gentle belly dancing-style movements! Check out the upcoming sessions here!

Wells-next-the-Sea (The Sackhouse at Wells Maltings, Jicklings Yard, Wells-Next-The-Sea, NR23 1AU)

Tuesday 10th April 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 24th April 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 8th May 1pm-3pm
Tuesday 22th May 1pm-3pm

Thetford (Thetford Methodist Church, Tanner St, Thetford IP24 2BQ)

Friday 6th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 20th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 4th May 2pm-4pm
Friday 18th May 2pm-4pm

Dereham (The Meeting Point, St Withburga Lane, Dereham, NR19 1DF)

Friday 13th April 2pm-4pm
Friday 27th April 10am-12pm
Friday 11th May 2pm-4pm
Friday 25th May 10am-12pm

Watton (Christian Community Centre, 57 High Street, Watton, IP25 6AB)

Thursday 5th April 2pm-4pm
Thursday 19th April 2pm-4pm
Thursday 3rd May 2pm-4pm
Thursday 17th May 2pm-4pm

Attleborough (St Mary’s Community Hall, Church Street, Attleborough NR17 2AH)

Friday 13th April 10am-12pm
Friday 27th April 1:15pm-3:15pm
Friday 11th May 10am-12pm
Friday 25th May 1:15pm-3:15pm

North Walsham (Cameo Café, Furze Hill Resource Centre, 73 Happisburgh Road, North Walsham, NR28 9HD)

Thursday 12th April 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 26th April 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 10th May 1:30pm-3:30pm

Thursday 24th May 1:30pm-3:30pm

 

If you’d like more information about the project, whether it’s joining in yourself or recommending a friend or family member, please do get in touch on 01953 713390. We’re always looking for volunteers as well, so get in touch here if you want to give back to your local community by helping out at the sessions.

“Great to have Theatre ‘Out in the Sticks’”: The Third Season of INN CROWD has Begun!

Since 2016, we’ve been working in collaboration with fellow rural touring organisation Applause (who do what we do – but in Kent and Sussex), to deliver a unique programme of spoken word-inspired performances, specifically tailored to rural pubs! INN CROWD’s aim is to support pub landlords in offering something a little different to their regular punters and attract new customers too, by enabling them to host high-quality performances in their pubs. This helps cement the pub as a vital part of rural community life, and allows local people the chance to see fantastic professional live art in a familiar and comfortable setting, often without having to travel far at all.

The third season of this brilliant project has just kicked off, with INN CROWD’s first co-production in the form of ‘Holmes & Watson: The Case of the Rhyming Crime’ by Dr Illingworth and Mr Simpson, delighting audiences in 4 rural pubs (The Burston Crown, The Wheatsheaf in West Beckham, The King’s Head in North Lopham and The Dun Cow in Christchurch). As well as this commission, the INN CROWD project will see local pubs host performances by critically acclaimed and award-winning poet Luke Wright (Norfolk and Norwich Festival hit for 2 years running); a one-man play where the famous Lord Byron regales local pubs with his tales of debauchery and romance; and an interactive show called ‘Voted Out’ by local performance poets Mark Grist and Tim Clare, in which audiences can use state-of-the-art technology to interact with the performance, voting real-time on the subject of the poems themselves. Other upcoming events include shows by duo Living Spit, who will deliver their unique brand of musical comedy, and previous INN CROWD hit David Mynne with a one-man version of Great Expectations.

So if you fancy a bit of poetry with your pint, head to our website to see if INN CROWD is coming to a pub near you! If you’re a pub landlord who’s interested, or an artist with a story to tell, more details about the project and how you can get involved are on the INN CROWD website. If you’ve been along to an INN CROWD event and want to share your thoughts and photos, use the hashtag #INNCROWD on Twitter and Facebook!

“Bring entertainment to the pub; that’s what pubs are for. Bring the villages together. Fantastic!”

INN CROWD is a partnership project run by rural touring organisations Creative Arts East in East Anglia and Applause in Kent and Sussex, with artistic support from Writers’ Centre Norwich and expertise from Pub Is The Hub. It will continue until 2019, with majority funding from Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairburn Foundation.